What is the Golden Visa?
The Golden Visa, also referred to as The Golden Residency Permit (GRP) programme or The Residency Permit for the Investment Activity (Autorização de Residência para Atividade de Investimento - ARI), is designed to encourage investment in Portugal by non-EU citizens in exchange for granting residency status.
What are the main benefits of the Golden Visa?
What kind of investment is required in order to qualify for the Golden Visa?
In order to qualify, one of the following investment conditions in Portugal must be met:
Is there a mandatory staying period?
As may be expected, to qualify for residency, there are minimum length of stay requirements in Portugal (which may include circulation in the Schengen Area countries) of seven days during the first year and fourteen days, consecutive or not, in the subsequent two-year periods (i.e. an average of one week per year). Where the applicant does not fulfil the minimum stay requirements, the GRP may not be renewed and the applicant will need to re-apply.
Are there any other requirements?
There are a number of conditions that applicants must fulfil concerning either their criminal record or their status in relation to a ban entering national territory or expulsion from the country; whether they have had an alert in their name issued in SIS (listed persons) or in Border and Control Services (SEF) Integrated System.
Here we can introduce a new rule to make the transfer before the SEF appointment.
What documents are required for the application?
Document requirements include:
How and where is the application submitted?
There must be an initial online registration (by the applicant or by their legal representative). The applicant’s presence will be required to collect the biometric data at the SEF’s offices, located in Lisbon. The relevant documentation may be filed with the same office.The possibility of filing the application at a diplomatic or consular post is impractical and does not avoid the required presence of the applicant in Portugal for the collection of the biometric data (photograph and taking fingerprints etc.), signing the affidavit and for concluding the separate process of opening the bank account. Once these initial steps have been completed, the legal representative may handle the filing of the remaining application process documentation.
What are the specific characteristics of each type of qualifying investment?
Capital transfer of a minimum of 1 million euros
To fulfil this option, the applicant must demonstrate a transfer of the capital of at least 1 million euros, which may include investments in shares of the share capital of companies, by showing:
– a declaration issued by a banking institution in Portugal certifying that the applicant has effectively transferred the capital of at least 1 million euros into an account of which the applicant is the sole or first holder of the capital; or
– for the purchase of interests or shares in companies, an up-to-date certificate issued by the Commercial Registry, certifying that the applicant is the holder of share capital in a company.
Purchase of real estate of at least €500,000 in value
The applicant must show:
- the final Deed of Purchase, or promissory contract for the purchase, of a property which must include a statement by a financial institution duly accredited in Portugal certifying the effective transfer of capital for the acquisition or for the first payment in a value equal to, or above, 500 thousand euros; and
– an up‐to‐date certificate issued by the Property Registry, which, in the case of a promissory contract, must include the contract’s registration.
Creation of, at least, 10 new job positions
The applicant must show an updated certificate issued by the Portuguese Social Security Office with registration of the new job positions.
How long does the process usually take?
Where an application process contains all of the required documents in the required formats, the SEF takes about four weeks to approve the application. The temporary residency card, enabling the holder to move freely within the Schengen area, normally takes a further two weeks to issue.
What is the validity of the Golden Visa?
Once it has been issued, the Golden Visa is valid for an initial 1-year period followed by two subsequent 2-year periods.
Is it possible to extend the Golden Visa to family members?
Members of the applicant’s family may be associated with the main applicant’s process (i.e. the investment requirement only applies to the main applicant). A family is defined in law as the spouse of the applicant and minors or dependent children of the couple or of one of the members of the couple. Adopted children, adult children that are still financially dependent on parents, financially dependent parents or parents over 65 years old and minor siblings may also be included. There are also provisions allowing certain non-marital partnerships and their adopted children.
What are the government fees for the application?
Estimated costs over the 5-year period are:
How can the investor and their family obtain permanent residency?
GRP applicants frequently are interested in obtaining permanent residency. This may be applied for where the GRP applicant had held the temporary residence permit for at least 5 years, is able to sustain him/herself, has guaranteed accommodation, has a basic knowledge of the Portuguese language and has not been convicted for a serious crime.
How can the investor and their family obtain Portuguese citizenship?
Some GRP applicants seek to go the whole way and apply for Portuguese nationality. For this, there are additional conditions, including the requirements that the applicant is an adult, i.e. 18 years old, has been resident in Portugal for at least 6 years and a higher level of sufficiency in the Portuguese language. Portugal allows dual citizenship.
Does the investor require a fiscal number?
Yes. A fiscal number is a personal identification number set by the Portuguese Tax Authorities. All investors are required to have a fiscal number in order open a bank account, make their investments and to submit their Golden Visa application. The fiscal number can be obtained with the assistance of a tax representative.
Is the investor allowed to withdraw the investment / sell the property after 5 years?
Yes. The investment is only required for a 5-year period.
Is the investor allowed to withdraw the investment / sell the property if they no longer require the Golden Visa?
Yes. However, without proof that the investment has been retained, it is not possible to renew the Golden Visa.
Is the investor required to live in the property he/she has purchased?
No. The investor has the option to live in the property or it can be rented out to generate an income.
Are any taxes payable on any income generated in Portugal?
An income tax rate of 28% is payable on rental income and any income generated from capital (e.g. interest, dividends).
Are there taxes associated with property ownership in Portugal?
There are three taxes in Portugal related to property:
Payable with the property’s acquisition:
– “IMT” or Property Transfer Tax, which is the tax on transfer of ownership of property*
– Stamp Duty
Payable on an annual basis:
– “IMI” or Council Tax, which is the annual municipal property tax; it is levied between 0.3% and 0.5% on the property’s tax value
* The exact amount of taxes to be paid varies according to the actual value of the acquisition. We recommend that you seek guidance from a tax representative in each case.